Sky Exchange, Diamond Exchange, Lords Exchange and Lotus Exchange. These are some of the names dominating a multi-billion Dollar betting industry you probably haven’t heard of yet. So let us enlighten you…
India’s cricket and sports betting market is estimated to be worth up to £50Bn per year (€60Bn / $68Bn / AED249Bn at time of writing). The numbers are simply staggering. For starters, it can be said that India gambles more on cricket than China does on football. Which is a mind-blowing statistic.
Thanks to the last decade of Chinese symbols splashed across shirts and touchline advertising in Europe’s top football leagues, the general population of the betting world is aware that China likes the odd punt on a football match. However the national obsession of betting on cricket in India, has not yet made it to the world stage.
Most global media reports on betting in India cover only one type of story; match fixing conducted by shadowy criminal syndicates. Whilst of course there are fixes in cricket matches, the top-level matches today are usually as clean as any international sport can be. Due to the volumes bet across India’s betting exchanges, it is easy to see where markets are behaving unusually and in some cases, markets can be abandoned and all bets void in India.
The global proliferation of online sports betting since the ‘90s, led by football, initially resulted in pure arbitrage opportunities between continents. These were soon eroded by the high-speed API players and those who could scrape more rudimentary Chinese sites. Then came the betting syndicates who could more accurately price probabilities. These developments created an enormous wealth transfer (mostly tax-free) from China, via Manila, Isle of Man and Macau to some very bright traders and technologists.
But today, the football betting markets are closing their doors to professional gamblers and syndicates with a speed or value edge.
So how can high rollers make bank in India?
If you can beat Betfair, you can beat India, it’s that simple.
While the rock stars of the global football betting industry have taken all the headlines, buying football clubs or playing high stakes poker on TV, India has until recently been behind the curve. There is not one domestic Indian betting operator who advertises internationally. For one thing, they’re not allowed to; it’s illegal. But this didn’t stop Chinese brands for the last two decades.
The biggest benefit to smart European traders, is that India’s online betting revolution began in the peak growth period of Betfair. Today, the entire Indian market is operated on an exchange format, with all players being familiar and comfortable with back and lay prices in one market. This was not the case in China before it moved online, where players would usually look to Ladbrokes or Hills for what the price should be, and only the back price.
So yes, the average Indian sports bettor is more savvy when it comes to the spread. However, the entire Indian sports betting market, including football, tennis and racing, is entirely built on the Betfair price. If you are a trader or a syndicate with a value-based model that can beat Betfair at 2%, you need to be looking for a Skin account immediately.
Skins are the market term for hacked together Betfair copies. Some are genuine Betfair white labels but most aren’t. The term to identify genuine white labels: “Powered by Betfair”, was soon replicated and most sites now seem comfortable referring to Betfair for their pricing. 95%+ of the volume bet in India will be away from the Betfair main pool, and an estimated 30-40% of that volume will be made off-screen, on old-school telephone-networks, like 1980s/90s equity or commodities trading.
So when you are first given a Skin account login, you’ll be told you’ll need a VPN. Many of the Skin providers have become aware of commercial VPNs and in order to block foreign winners, implement software to detect and block data centre IPs. So you’ll need a proxy but Cricket88 can help with that.
Then you’ll login and see your account starting balance in Points. This might be 10,000 or 100,000 or more. The Points are only relevant to the betting terms, such as minimum and maximum bet. Each of these points will have a pre-assigned real-money value and this will be in Rupees. So let’s say you’re given a 100,000 Point account, with a Point value of 10. This would mean the available balance is worth 1,000,000Rps (~£9.8K / €11.7K / $13.3K / AED48.6K). Cricket88 can obtain Skin accounts worth up to 100Lakh.
All Skin accounts operate within the larger ecosystem of bookmaking in India so all accounts are settled and reset every Monday. There are exceptions to this rule, most often because the big cricket match won’t finish until later in the week, but also occasionally for high holidays where the bookie might settle a day or two later. Even if delayed, the accounts are always reconciled and reset weekly.
Although the account may have a value of say 10 Lakhs (1,000,000Rps), you are often allowed to win or lose at least one multiple. If for example you lose this 10L balance and don’t want to wait until the following week to bet again, it is in the agent’s / bookie’s discretion to reset your balance mid-week. However they will have to trust that you’re good for the losses. Similarly, they will allow you to reset your winnings and go again… if they think they’re fair bets. Here Cricket8 ensure both parties settle promptly and underwrite each side.
Betting on any lower league football or obscure tennis matches is an obvious no-no. If your only edge is in Scottish Premiership half-times, India can’t help you. But if you operate in markets that are liquid on Betfair, you should be able to get down at least 10x volumes on the Skin for football and major tennis tournament match markets. For cricket, volumes can be 100x what shows on the Betfair screen.
In the early days of this new market development, up until around 2020, it was possible and straightforward to manipulate the core Betfair price up or down. Then piling into the other side at 10x or 20x on the Skin account to ensure an advantageous execution price. This was executed to perfection by various Western syndicates and the bookies are still smarting. Needless to say, bookies and agents have become wise to this strategy and if they suspect you of doing it, it’s an instant shut down, payout and blotted copybook.
Ultimately, if you are crushing a Betfair Skin week after week, like any bookie, they will only be happy to lay you for so long before shutting your account (and paying out any balance). So there are ‘courtesies’ which are sensible, to ensure long-term profit-making. Winning 100 Lakh (1 Crore) per week on Skins worth a total of say 250Lakh, will not cause too many eyelids to bat. Whereas winning 100Lakh weekly on 100Lakh accounts for weeks on end, they won’t lay that for long.
If you are looking for bigger individual bets than mentioned above, or you have questions about specific market dynamics for exchange betting accounts in India, please get in touch with us. Also, have a read of the section Telephone Betting in India which explains how to get very big bets on in India.